"It still happens often, someone tells me, 'I'm a social worker because of your Willowbrook State School expose.' It's one of the most gratifying aspects of my life. Clearly, institutionalizing people with disabilities only enhanced their disabilities, it didn't alleviate them. It destroyed lives and wasted capital. That's my proudest achievement."
About This Interview
In his three-hour Archive interview, Geraldo Rivera talks about how being born half Puerto Rican and half Jewish affected his world view. He speaks of his time at law school and his involvement in The Young Lords, a Latino activist group. He recounts joining WABC's Eyewitness News in New York City, and his relationship with his Columbia University professor Fred Friendly. He speaks in depth about his groundbreaking WABC report on the Willowbrook State School, which led to a major overhaul in how mentally disabled people are cared for in the United States. He remembers his early days of celebrity and associating with the likes of John Lennon, George Harrison, and his then father-in-law Kurt Vonnegut. He chronicles his rise to network news, working on such shows as Good Morning America, The ABC Nightly News, and 20/20. Rivera then recalls his misadventures with The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault and his daytime talk show Geraldo. He describes his time at CNBC on Rivera Live covering the OJ Simpson trial and the Bill Clinton scandal, and outlines his reaction to 9/11 and his decision to become a war correspondent for Fox News. Dr. Ralph Engelman conducted the interview on November 16, 2011 in New York City.